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Harvard’s Martin Nowak to Deliver Lectures at Johns Hopkins

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March 5, 2010

Martin A. Nowak, a professor of biology and mathematics at Harvard University, will discuss “The Evolution of Cooperation” at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 22, in Mason Hall Auditorium on The Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. It is the first in a series of five daily talks through Friday, March 26, as part of the 2009-2010 Templeton Research Lectures presented by the Krieger School’s Evolution, Cognition, and Culture Project.

Nowak’s first lecture and his last, “God and Evolution,” at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 26, in the Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Support Center, will be geared toward a general audience. All five lectures, four of which will be given by Nowak, are free and open to the public. Visitor parking on campus is available in the South Garage, 3101 Wyman Park Drive, Baltimore, Md. 21211.

The Johns Hopkins Evolution, Cognition, and Culture Project explores the relations among evolution, cognition and culture with a focus on the cognitive science of religion. Each year, the project hosts a series of lectures on the cognitive science of religion by a distinguished Templeton Research Fellow. It also sponsors a wide range of further events dealing with all aspects science and religion.

Nowak is director of Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. He also co-directs the Evolution and Theology of Cooperation project at the Harvard Divinity School. Nowak works on the mathematical description of evolutionary processes including the evolution of cooperation and human language, and the dynamics of virus infections and human cancer. His major discoveries include the mechanism of HIV disease progression and the rapid turnover and evolution of drug resistance in HIV infection. He is currently working on a theory known as “pre-life,” a formal approach to the origin of evolution. Nowak wrote many important publications, including the prize-winning Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Equations of Life (Harvard University Press, 2006). A full bio is available online at http://www.ped.fas.harvard.edu/people/faculty/ .

Nowak’s second lecture on the Homewood campus will take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, in 110 Clark Hall, where he will speak about “Evolutionary Dynamics.” Tuesday’s talk is co-sponsored by the Whiting School’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. At 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, Nowak will discuss “Pre-Life” in 26 Mudd Hall. The Department of Biology is co-sponsoring the event. Refreshments will be offered at 4 p.m.

“Evolution and Structure” is the subject of talk to be given by Corina Tarnita, a postdoctoral fellow who studies at Harvard with Nowak, at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 25, in 304 Whitehead Hall, with the Department of Applied Math and Statistics co-sponsoring the lecture. Nowak concludes the series with “God and Evolution” at 3 p.m., on Friday, March 26, in the Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Support Center, co-sponsored by Campus Ministries.

The Templeton Research Lectures are made possible by a generous grant from the Metanexus Institute with matching funds from the John Templeton Foundation and the Krieger School. These three-to-four year project grants of up to $500,000 are awarded to promote important conversations at the forefront of the field of science and religion. Since the grant was awarded to an interdisciplinary group of Krieger School faculty in 2007, the team led by Professor Steven Gross has brought approximately 100 notable speakers to campus, including Templeton Fellows Dan Sperber, one of France’s leading cognitive scientists; and Paul Bloom, professor of psychology and linguistics at Yale University.

For more information about the Evolution, Cognition, Culture Project, visit http://web.jhu.edu/ecc .


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